Friday, September 11, 2015

Stick Your Labels

Dundee City Council is set to become the first local authority in Scotland to sign up to a campaign which aims to tackle the stigma encountered by many people living on low incomes.

The campaign aims to address the negative and stigmatising attitudes that blight the lives of thousands of people living on low incomes amid a hardening of attitudes towards welfare and an increased use of stigmatising language in the media and from politicians. According to the campaign, people living on low incomes are regularly labelled as ‘cheats’, ‘scroungers’ and ‘skivers’ while the reality is very different, with people doing all they can to make ends meet in difficult circumstances. Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said: “The Stick Your Labels campaign is about challenging the myths that surround poverty, and ending the stigma that people experiencing poverty often face. “Much of the language that is now used to refer to those claiming social security benefits is has the intention to stigmatise and separate, making people feel less worthy and having no right to support.

The campaign is encouraging organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors to commit themselves to a series of statements and take the action needed to help change beliefs about poverty.

These are:
1     Poverty is not inevitable: it is a problem of political choices, it is neither natural nor acceptable. We all have a role to play in addressing poverty: We will set out our contribution to tackling poverty in Scotland.

2     Attitudes matter: How we talk about poverty and how we portray it can stigmatise and harm people: We will never use language that may stigmatise people experiencing poverty.

3    Actions change attitudes: To change beliefs about poverty requires action across our whole society: We will develop actions that help address negative attitudes towards people experiencing poverty.

The Socialist Party while sympathizing with such worthy sentiments would point out that poverty and inequality is inevitable within the capitalism system and it is only through the abolition of capitalism will people be finally free of poverty and the insecurity threat of poverty. 

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